Fail-Safe Leadership BY Jorge Gutierrez

Based on the book by: Linda L. Martin & Dr. David G. Mutchler


Leadership is the hottest topic in business today. Fail-Safe Leadership advances a results-based definition of leadership. It demonstrates how it’s possible to grow leaders quickly, and how to align every individual’s work effort directly to the company’s vision and strategic plan, in order to improve a company’s bottom line. Leadership means different things to many people; often mistaken by management which brings a completely different set of skills into consideration.  

What do you think about these two quotes?

“Around the globe, we currently face … a deepening leadership crisis in organizations.  … It is the most urgent and dangerous of the threats we face today, if only because it is insufficiently recognized and little understood.” Warren Bennis – ‘Managing People is like Herding Cats’

“Leadership is the most important single factorin determining business success or failure in our competitive, turbulent, fast moving economy.”  Brian Tracy – ‘The 100 Absolute Unbreakable Laws of Business Success”

Most top executives will agree that these claims ring true for their organizations every day. Have you ever heard or felt, “I pay good money to hire top leaders … why can’t they lead?” Nothing will ensure your success in the future EXCEPT a fail-safe system of Leadership. But what does that really mean?

If we were to define Fail-Safe leadership, we see:


  • Fail-Safe is a procedure designed to prevent malfunctioning


  • Leadership is defined as the position or guidance of a leader or the ability to lead


 Let’s call the traditional mob2ap3_thumbnail_1_20140728-145515_1.pngdel of “Leaders must possess a certain set of characteristics” a competency-based model. Using this thinking, if your objective is to train and develop new Leaders, you need to designate the characteristics you want your Leaders to exhibit and train to those. This assumes that if you grow the Leadership qualities in people then somehow magically, this will impact organizational results.   A result of the popularity of this model is evidenced in the “promote from within” strategy. How many times have you seen a “super” worker promoted to supervisor, and then everyone sits back and waits for them to “lead?” Who has seen Leaders or “Leaders-In-Training” sent off to workshops where the facilitator presents his list of leadership attributes and helps the participants’ measure and develop themselves? How long did that training “stick?”


Let’s shift the paradigm instead to determining that a Leader must demonstrate the ability to get results. If organizations define the results needed, they can then grow the people and processb2ap3_thumbnail_2.pnges to ensure those results! It’s time to embrace a Result-Based Model of Leadership.

How do we go about instituting this model?


It begins with setting goals through your organization’s strategic plan that is focused on your vision. Here is where you can define the desired Results from your Leaders.  It continues by aligning the people and the processes to ensure its realization. The goal is to have all of your operations linked to the plan. Then virtually everything that happens in a company works purposefully toward achieving that Plan (Vision).


What do you think?

 Are you ready to accept a Fail-Safe, Results-Based Leadership model? If so, it’s time to look at how you are developing your people. Once you accept this new Results-Based Leadership model, you must next commit to Leadership Development Processes that aggressively grow people to achieve the strategic direction of your company.

It’s time to create Leadership Development Processes that are purposely designed to incorporate that clear strategic direction for your company and that link to your operating systems to ensure achieving your desired results. 

Ready to get started?


This first step is to create alignment between the goals of the team and the overall vision of the company. When that happens, positive results are more likely to occur. 

Organizations must work toward getting all of their people pulling in the same direction.

The alignment process within results-based Leadership Processes must be embedded and understood within the organization. 


The Executive Leadershb2ap3_thumbnail_3.pngip Team has this responsibility:

Establishes a Vision Statement – Who or Where You Want Your Company to Be in the Future (about 3 years).

  • Establishes a Mission Statement – What Must be Done in Year One to Move to Achieve the Vision.
  • Creates Critical Success Factors – Four to Eight Items that are Necessary and Sufficient to Achieve the Mission.
  • Establishes Goals that are Necessary and Sufficient to Accomplish the Critical Success Factors.
  • Offers a Specific Action Plan to Accomplish the Goals – WHO does WHAT by WHEN.

 No matter the size of your organization, the strategic plan should be passed successfully from one level to the next until every person in the company is aligned with the vision.

Every member of the team must understand their own action steps to accomplish the Vision, be supported with the required resources and have processes in place that ensure productivity, innovation, and speed.  Then and only then is the organization aligned and is truly in a position to succeed.

In the book, Fail-Safe Leadership, you are asked to do a few things. We’ve touched on these today:


  • Redefine Leadership as the ability to set goals and achieve desired results.


  • Embrace a new approach to Leadership development by developing and following the processes that lead to achieving results.
  • Implement specific Leadership Development Processes that lead to results namely the alignment process and the goal setting/goal achievement process.
  •  Revisit the Core Values of your company and update or revise them where appropriate.

If you do all of those things, you will have begun to engage your Fail-Safe Leadership Engine!

Follow Jorge and learn more about his work


Jorge Gutierrez  is the Chief Executive Officer of the BMOC GROUP; a business management and Operations Consultancy and Coaching Company. He partners with individuals and organizations to drive growth.  Jorge is a former Command Sergeant Major and retired from the US ARMY and a long life practitioner of Leadership. 

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